Potential of angiotensin II receptor blockers in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy

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Impairments in renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system during diabetes mellitus, leading to its dysfunction, have been known since a decade. Hyperglycemia induces several pathological alterations which upregulate this system, accounting for overexpression of its downstream signaling molecules, amongst which angiotensin II (Ang II) and aldosterone hold prime pathological notoriety. Although it is well known that elevated plasma levels of Ang II play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of type-II diabetic mellitus, by inducing and aggravating insulin resistance, it is not quite much known that it equally elevates the possibility/risk of development of diabetic complications. Also, amongst the various diabetic complications, the effects of Ang II upregulation are more widely acknowledged in studies concerning the pathophysiology of diabetic nephropathy; however, its role in exacerbating diabetic retinopathy has not received much attention. Ang II, indeed, plays a detrimental role in the progression of diabetic retinopathy by augmenting the principal events involved in its pathogenesis, namely oxidative stress, angiogenesis and inflammation. The utility of angiotensin receptor blockers has shown positive results in research studies and hence, might potentially provide a novel adjuvant therapy for treating this complication and preventing the associated vision-loss in diabetic patients.

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